Home Safety Tips

Every year, there are many injuries and fatalities that are caused by a lack of home safety. There are many different ways you can modify your home and your daily routine to ensure safety. Here is a list of home safety tips:

1. Secure scatter rugs.

2. Have contrasting colors on transitions into different rooms, stairs, and different level surfaces.

3. Avoid using cleaners that make the floor slippery.

4. Always wear supportive shoes/slippers without an opening back.

5. Avoid walking in socks without grippers.

6. Have a night light to your bathroom.

7. Make sure steps have a non-slip surface.

8. Make sure you have proper lighting in all areas.

9. Make your bath/shower skid proof.

10. Purchase a non-slip bath mat.

11. Store heavy items below shoulder level.

12. Avoid wearing loose clothing while cooking on the stove.

13. Check expiration dates on food and medications.

14. Take your medication in a well-lit room.

15. If you have a medical history and or history of falls, invest in a medical alert system.

16. Remove clutter from your floors to avoid tripping.

17. Do not put too many electric cords into one socket.

18. Install a smoke detector.

19. If using a space heater, make sure it is 3 feet away from anything that could burn.

What is SI Dysfunction? How can Physical Therapy Help?

What is the SI Joint?

  • Sacroiliac joint
  • Lies at the bottom of the lumbar spine and above the coccyx (tailbone).  It connects the sacrum with the pelvis.  SI joints are strong and have very tight, strong ligaments connecting the bony surfaces.

What is the function of the SI Joint?

  • Acts as a shock absorber for the pelvis and low back.
  • It has minimal motion compared to other joints.
  • Transmits forces from the upper body down the pelvis and legs.

Why do I get pain at my SI joint?

  • Pain happens when the SI joint moves too much or too little.
  • Direct strain or trauma to the SI joint ligaments.
  • A fall on the buttox or mis-stepping a descending step.


  • Can be difficult to diagnose because the symptoms can be diffuse and can mimic other common low back and hip injuries.
  • Assessing pelvic alignment, leg length, and palpating bony landmarks may help determine whether this joint is involved.
  • More advanced diagnostic tests like MRI, X-ray, CT scan can help with diagnosis but can also miss the correct diagnosis.


  • Physical therapy can be very helpful with conservative management of SI joint dysfunction.
  • Assess pelvic alignment and use techniques to correct alignment.
  • Stretches to help with pain and lack of mobility.
  • Dry needling, massage, and heat can help with muscle spasms.
  • Ice can help with inflammation and irritation surrounding the SI joint.
  • Strengthening exercises to the applicable hip and core musculature will be given to help stabilize and normalize the proper pelvic alignment.

How to Exercise with a Foam Roller

A foam roller is a great tool to decrease muscle tightness, improve flexibility, and improve muscle strength/stability. It is inexpensive and easy to use anywhere in your home. Listed below are the benefits of using a foam roller and examples of foam roller exercises.

1. Decrease muscle tightness-  Place the foam roller on a trigger point.  You can either maintain pressure on the spot or perform gentle oscillations over the trigger point. Perform this self massage technique no more than 5 minutes per muscle.

2. Improve Flexibility- Laying with your back on the foam roller, elongate your arms to stretch your pectoralis muscles.

3. Improve muscle strength/stability- There are many exercises you can perform on a foam roller to improve muscle strength/stability. Laying with your back on the foam roller, alternate lifting your arms and legs. If you want a really challenging exercise, stand on a foam roller and perform a squat.

If you would like to learn more about how you can use a foam roller to achieve your exercise goals, give Harbor Physical Therapy a call.

foam squat
Foam Roller Squat
foam roller
Different Size Foam Rollers
pec stretch
Pectoralis Stretch on Foam Roller

Playing Golf- Improper Form Leading to Injury

Golf is a strenuous sport on numerous joints throughout the body. This is due to the high impact on the ball, the quick acceleration/deceleration forces associated with swing, the pivot forces on your legs, and the rotational forces on your cervical, thoracic and lumbar spine.

Factors that can contribute to golf swing injuries:
• Overuse and over practice
• Poor swing mechanics
• Over swinging
• Improper warm up
• Rotational stresses associated with swing
• Improper set up/grip/club length
• Poor posture

If you continue to have pain while playing golf or are unable to play due to pain, please contact Harbor Physical Therapy for an evaluation. HPT will determine the cause of your discomfort and educate you on how to prevent a re occurrence.

Common Injuries At the Gym

1. Muscle Strain– There are different degrees of muscle strains from a minor overstretching injury to a tear. To avoid muscle strains, make sure you warm up appropriately and do not lift more weight than you can handle.

2. Tendonitis-is caused by a repetitive strain to the tendon of the muscle. If you overwork a muscle, you can develop tendonitis.

3. Bursitis– is inflammation to the bursa. A Bursa is a fluid filled sac that provides decrease friction and helps to give a fluid movement to the joint. Avoid doing the same exercises all the time; change it up to avoid overuse of one particular area.

4. Back injury– due to placing increase stress on your back muscles with exercises. Avoid forward bent over postures at the gym. Bend with your knees and tighten your abdominal muscles during exercises. This will help decrease the likelihood of a back injury.

5. Shoulder impingement injury– can occur when you overuse the rotator cuff muscles. The rotator cuff muscle can rub against the top part of the shoulder blade, producing pain. Avoid overhead weighted exercises.

If you experience pain while you are working out, you should stop and apply ice. If the pain persists for more than 3 days, contact your physician or your local physical therapist at Harbor Physical Therapy.

How to Use a Foam Roller

When using a foam roller to decrease muscle pain/tightness, place it on the tender muscle.  Roll the whole length of the muscle until you find a tender point.  Spend 20-60 seconds on the tender point.  You can either hold the foam roller over the tender point using your body weight or you can gentle slowly roll over the area.  Spend no more than 5 minutes on a muscle.  Be careful not to spend too long on one specific area because it can cause increased pain and bruising.

High density foam roller

What Are The Benefits of Kinesiotape?


Kinesiotape is a 100% elastic tape with a breathable design, developed in 1970s and introduced clinically in mid-1990s. Kinesiotape has the ability to be stretched to certain levels of tension depending on the purpose of each particular taping technique. Kinesiotape is non-constrictive, providing support and stability while still allowing a muscle or joint to move through a normal range of motion.  To learn about the benefits of Kinesiotape for an injury, check out below:

Kinesiotape Usage



What is Dry Needling?

What is dry needling?

  • Dry needling is a treatment involving a thin needle, used to target a painful trigger point.  A trigger point is a painful muscle “knot” that can limit normalized movement and make every day tasks painful and difficult.

How does it work?

  • The therapist feels for the trigger point and then inserts the needle. The needle helps to release the tightness, stimulate blood flow, and promote relaxation to the aggravated muscle.

Is it like acupuncture?

  • Though both treatments use a thin needle, the dry needling treatment tends to be deeper.  Humans have thick, large muscles and if needed the needle can go as deep as those large muscles and be quite uncomfortable.  Where acupuncture treatment tends to be more skin level and cause less discomfort.  There is no medicine used in the dry needling treatment, it is not an injection.  The treatment can be uncomfortable and painful at times but is generally tolerated well.  The therapist is always present and monitoring patient symptoms.  The therapist will talk you through what to expect before deciding if this is an appropriate treatment for you.

How long does it last?

  • Dry needling is one possible treatment option to be used in conjunction with massage, exercise, heat/ice to help manage pain.  Results can vary from person to person and can range from very short term (hours-days) to more permanent effects.  Generally, no more than 3-4 treatments will be done if no positive results are obtained.

How much does this cost?

  • Dry needling treatment is covered by most health insurance plans.

Should I try dry needling?

  • Dry needling can be helpful in treatment of conditions such as: myofascial pain, tension headaches, fibromyalgia, IT band syndrome, sciatica, piriformis syndrome, rotator cuff syndrome, and chronic neck and back pain.  Talk to your therapist if you think this could be a helpful treatment for you.  Do not consider dry needling if you have a fear of needles, are pregnant, immunocompromised or have systemic infections.

    Dry Needling
    Dry Needling

The Real Weight of Obesity: What It’s Really Doing to Your Body

Obesity is a complex health disorder in which excess weight gain puts an individual at high risk for osteoarthritis and several life-threatening medical conditions. Although the obesity epidemic is currently affecting millions of Americans across the country, each person’s battle with obesity begins right at home with personal lifestyle choices.

Contributors to obesity include:

  • Diet including intake of high-calorie foods
  • Physical Inactivity
  • Genetics (to an extent)
  • Some illnesses
  • Lack of sleep
  • Certain medication use (such as steroids)

Effects of obesity may include (but are not limited to):

  • High blood pressure
  • Osteoarthritis – breakdown of cartilage between bones
  • Diabetes
  • Difficulty sleeping and breathing problems
  • Heart disease
  • Cancer
  • Stroke
  • Depression and social isolation
  • Gallbladder disease
  • Increased healthcare-related costs

Step-by-step on how to Fight Obesity:

  1. Drink lots of water! Keep your body hydrated throughout the day.
  2. Eat right! Fill your diet with whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and lean proteins; avoid foods with processed sugar and high animal fat content.
  3. Get active! Even a daily 10-minute walk can help. Challenge yourself by taking the stairs instead of the elevator.
  4. Stay active! The Physical Activity Guidelines for America recommends at least 2.5 hours of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity per week to stay heart healthy and to add 2 additional days of strength training.
  5. Stay motivated! Find friends or family to share your experience with. Weight loss is a marathon not a sprint, losing 1-2 pounds per week is a healthy pace.

**Remember!! Every pound lost is a success! Small amounts of weight loss have been shown to have substantial benefits including reducing knee and hip pain from arthritis, increasing blood flow through the body and heart, and improving overall quality of life!